How to Survive University/College?

This is a note, taken from [here], regarding on how to survive in university or college. If you look at it, the note is quite generic, where it focused on having a good attitude in life, with some flavour of being a student.

My advice is probably going to be different from most others here: don’t worry about it, enjoy yourself.

Unless you are really lucky, once you’re out of university you will be in a 9-5 job for some significant time, with a few weeks a holiday each year. Now is the time you can happily let your hair down a bit, if that’s what will serve you well.

Consider what you want from these few years. If the answer is superb marks and academic achievement then the other answers are for you.

But an average degree (which doesn’t always hold you back in the next stage!) will serve then take this opportunity to explore other things (social or academic). I spent my first year of university working like stink, much the same way you suggest. I came within the top of the class, but damn I was knackered and had barely made any new friends.

Second and third year slipped (I ended up with an average degree) because I started hanging out with new people, skipped the occasional class, did some activities, joined societies, made my voice heard.

This wasn’t just losing interest in the course, in that two year period I changed totally, losing a lot of my social awkwardness. I can pretty much attribute my moderate successes today to the people I met at uni.

Anyone who plays down this aspect of being in university is badly wrong.

I think there is a balance. If you find yourself struggling to stay on top of a project, or lacking motivation to listen in class… find something else to do for the evening. Go to the cinema, go rock climbing, hang out with interesting people. The problem probably comes from being “tuned in” to the work constantly, so forget about it for an evening. University is as much about developing as an individual and an adult as it is about the academic work!

The good piece of advice already in this thread is eat well. That can make a significant difference. Learn to cook properly; that can be an adequate distraction in itself (see above).

Find a way to exercise, this is the one thing that will make you sleep a whole lot better.

I also recommend finding a partner; obviously a good one. I found that thinking about someone else (i.e. what they were up to, when I would see them, anniversaries/events that I need to remember etc.) really helped. And it is another person to remember stuff you forget 🙂 (my GF in third year basically saved my degree by reminding me that an essay was due in the next day…). It is also good to have someone you can confide in, and someone who is close enough to see when something is getting to you.

In general I’d suggest not bothering with special sleep or work cycles, drugs or other extreme “hacks”. Forcing yourself out of a natural cycle is often risky.

Ultimately; if you’re not having fun, change something. It is still early enough that this is possible to do. It gets harder as the years pass.



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